How to Style a Slip Dress for Fall with Neutral Fall Layers

Let me preface this by saying I am not the type of person to get the same item of clothing in multiple colors. No matter how much I like a piece, I’m simply too much of a wardrobe commitment-phobe to take that leap. At least I thought I was, that is, until I discovered Cuyana’s Silk Slip Dress. I snagged one last March in black and wore it nonstop all spring and summer, reaching for it both on days when I needed a chic but easy running-around outfit and for evenings when I wanted to glam up but still be comfortable. I love the darn thing so much—what with its sexy side slit, unique back detail, and flattering shape—that I had to have it in their newest rust hue. And now I’m using it as an excuse to find tons of creative ways to style a slip dress for fall!

Of course, there’s no need to complicate an already very good, simple thing such a slip dress, so the key to styling one for fall is to select equally streamlined elements. In this case, I put to work a long wool vest (or sleeveless coat, depending on your preferred nomenclature) that I picked up during my trip to India last February but haven’t yet had the chance to wear. The vest hits at the knee and the dress hits mid-calve, making for layers that move and flow and play a very nice proportion game together. Plus the tweed texture of the vest gives autumnal weight to the summery silk of the dress, and its back-tied belt adds an ever-so-slight touch of shape to an otherwise straight silhouette.

As for accessories, you can’t go wrong with the polished yet casual vibe of a flat black mule in a rounded, architectural shape; and a structured black top-handle satchel from Cuyana’s latest handbag collection provides a ladylike touch. Finally, a wood drop earring by LA jewelry designer Sophie Monet is just whimsical enough to inject a playful sensibility, but its spherical construction is still in keeping with the strong shapes of the rest of the look. I could easily swap the black dress into this combo for an equally appealing effect…or maybe, just maybe, I need the dress in pink too…?!

Shopping Guide: Silk Slip Dress, Cuyana. Tweed Sleeveless Coat, Bodice India (similar sleeveless coats here, here, and here). Black Slide Loafer Mules, Jil Sander (similar here and here). Structured Top-Handle Bag, Cuyana. Wood Drop Earrings, Sophie Monet. Delicate Gold Pendant Necklace, Mejuri. Round Sunglasses, Oliver Peoples x The Row. Photos: Eslee.